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Breaking Down the MCAT: A 3 Month MCAT Study Schedule

Discussion in 'MCAT Discussions' started by SN2ed, 05.01.09.

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  1. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Written by SN2ed.

    Downloadable MCAT Calendar iCAL and XML versions: http://www.studentdoctor.net/3-month-mcat-study-schedule/
    (Click the events for more details)

    Everyone please keep the questions to this strategy AND READ ALL OF THE FIRST FOUR POSTS.

    Do NOT start this schedule late. You will burnout. There have already been numerous posts & threads on people starting late, trying to rush through the material, and burning out quickly.
    Check the Update log in the last post for any changes.

    I noticed that some people are claiming they wrote this guide to scam people out of money. Let me make this clear, I have not and will not be selling anything related to this guide. If you see a poster trying to sell books saying they wrote this schedule, do NOT buy from them. They are attempting to take your money away on false pretenses. Additionally, this guide has only been and should only be posted on SDN. I have not posted this guide anywhere else. Furthermore, SDN is the sole MCAT/medical forum I visit and the only forum where I use the screen name SN2ed. I never imagined this thread would be popular enough to warrant this kind of attention. The contents of this thread (and any other on SDN) cannot be replicated and re-hosted on any other forum, blog, or website without prior consent of both the author and SDN.
    Make sure you read ALL of the opening posts, including the FAQ, before posting questions.

    To begin with, check out these two threads:

    Why Diagnostics are Worthless: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=557231

    MCAT and a Heavy School Workload Don't Mix: Stop rushing to take the MCAT:http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=602186

    Can I accomplish this schedule with a part-time job or school?

    Very unlikely. I highly recommend you devote 3 months to the MCAT. There may be a few that could follow this schedule and work part-time, but chances are it would not end well. You are FAR more likely to burn out if you try to study for the MCAT using this schedule and go to school or take a part/full-time job.

    Furthermore, I've yet to see a valid reason for students (ie. not non-trads) to not take the MCAT in the summer.

    Will following this guide guarantee me a +30?

    Sadly, there are no guarantees on the MCAT. I certainly hope it helps you, but I can't say whether or not you'll hit your target score.

    Should I take the MCAT before finishing my pre-reqs?

    There's no point in doing so. You have to take them anyway. Hence, you might as well go into the test with your pre-reqs completed. Yes, this includes the English pre-req.

    Any tips for retakers?

    Check out the thread I made on the subject: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=754682

    Remember to check out the third and fourth post FAQ.

    Anything else before I start?

    CONFIDENCE. Through all of the troubles and hardships you'll face, approach everything with confidence. You must constantly attack this test. The MCAT is merely a stepping stone on your journey.

    Also, this is just a guide I made up. It is my opinion on what a study schedule should resemble. I'm sure there will be people that disagree with parts of this schedule or the whole thing. This schedule can easily be adjusted for 4 months instead of 3. I don't suggest starting heavy studying 5 months+ from your test date. Keep it to 3-4 months. If you start too soon, it will be a waste of time and resources.

    Remember to use the search function on these forums. Tons of questions have already been asked and answered.
    Lastly, please give credit to me, SN2ed, if you post this elsewhere. I put a ton of work into it.

    Materials:

    - Berkeley Review (BR) General Chemistry
    - BR Organic Chemistry
    - Examkrackers (EK) Biology for non-detailed approach OR The Princeton Review Hyperlearning (TPR) Biology/BR Biology for a detailed approach (In the schedule, I will use EK Bio because most prefer a non-detailed approach)
    - BR Bio
    - BR Physics
    - EK 1001 series, excluding EK 1001 Bio (i.e. do NOT buy EK 1001 Bio)
    - EK Verbal 101
    - TPR Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook or Berkeley Review Verbal
    - AAMC Full Length (FL) #3-5 and 7-11 (AAMC #6 is not available at the moment)

    You're using EK Bio for content review and BR Bio for passages. If you need more detail during in your content review, refer to BR Bio.

    You can pick up the BR books from their website: http://www.berkeley-review.com/TBR/home-study.html
    Also, check out the For Sale section on here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=230 All of the above, except for the AAMC FLs show up from time to time. I've regularly seen a complete BR set go for under $100 on there. Whenever you buy used, MAKE SURE THE PASSAGES ARE UNMARKED.

    To buy the AAMC FLs: http://www.e-mcat.com/

    Bare Minimum Set-up:

    $245 for AAMC FLs (http://www.e-mcat.com/)

    $240 for BR Physics, O-chem, Gen Chem, Biology (http://www.berkeley-review.com/TBR/home-study.html)

    $26 for EK Verbal 101 (http://www.amazon.com/Examkrackers-MCAT101-Passages-Verbal-Reasoning/dp/1893858553)

    $30 EK Bio ()


    Prices vary on TPR Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook, search the For Sale forum on here for copies. They regularly show up. You should be able to get one for under $50.

    Total = $541 + TPR Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook

    Set-up with EK 1001:

    $18 EK Physics 1001 (http://www.amazon.com/Examkrackers-1001-Questions-MCAT-Physics/dp/1893858189)

    $20 EK O-Chem 1001 (http://www.amazon.com/Examkrackers-1001-Questions-Organic-Chemistry/dp/1893858197)

    $19 EK Chem 1001 (http://www.amazon.com/Examkrackers-1001-Questions-MCAT-Chemistry/dp/1893858227)

    Total = $598 + TPR Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook

    Possible Book Replacements:

    If you're having a hard time finding the TPR Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook, BR is an okay replacement. Well, there's not much of a choice left. Again, I HIGHLY recommend you hunt down the TPRH Verbal Workbook.

    TPRH is a great choice for content review in all subjects, however, you still need the BR books and EK 101 Verbal for their practice passages. TPRH does not have enough practice passages, though the Workbooks are still great resources.

    A Little Bit more about TPRH books:

    If you're looking for the Science or Verbal Workbooks, your best bet is through the For Sale forum on here: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/forumdisplay.php?f=230

    You can also find the full TPRH set in the For Sale. People usually sell the whole set together.

    If you want the content books, they're available on Amazon.

    Yes, these books are the same as the TPRH content review books. The only difference is that these books, unlike the class content review books, contain some practice passages. I believe it's 3-4 passages per chapter. It's not enough to just stick with these books and some FLs, but it's nice to have a few passages thrown in.

    About the EK 1001 series:

    It is a good idea to get the complete EK 1001 series. I thought they really helped me nail down my understanding of the various topics. Through using the physics especially, I found that I didn't understand some things as well as I would like. Furthermore, for whatever reason, they helped me visualize the problem in my head and made the equations intuitive to use.
    Too many people neglect their basic understanding which could be bolstered by EK 1001. They think they have a strong grasp, yet when those fundumentals are tested, one's weaknesses become more apparent. Plus, doing more timed practice problems is always a good thing.

    The only negative for the non-bio and VR practice books is that they aren't in the right format (unless you think of them as tons of discretes).
    However, it is significantly easier to spot your content weaknesses with EK 1001 because they aren't passages. You don't have to worry about if you messed up due to a failure to synthesize multiple ideas or the passage was worded strangely. When you mess up on EK 1001, you know it's due to a content weakness. Lastly, this problem would be alleviated by the BR books and EK content books containing practice passages. There are also the practice tests that you will be taking.
    I suggest you get the above materials 1-2 months in advance! It takes awhile to get your BR books! You don't want to be missing your materials when you're about to start this schedule. Also, older content review books are usually okay, just don't go too far back (past 5 years old).
    Lastly, sign up for your MCAT as soon as possible. Seats fill up months in advance.

    Timing:

    - ALWAYS complete your practice problems under TIMED conditions
    - For BR passages: 6-7 minutes per passage, work towards 6 minutes
    - For the EK 30-minute exams….well 30 minutes
    - EK 1001, except Bio series: 30 seconds to 1 minute per question
    - EK Verbal 101/TPR Verbal: 6-7 minutes per passage, work towards 6 minutes
    - AAMC FLs: Use their timing


    Notes:

    - Do NOT retake old practice material
    - Thoroughly review ALL of your practice problems. Review your problems the day AFTER you take them. Don't even look at the answers until then. If there's a break day, review your problems on the day after your break.
    - Remember to round like crazy for any math problem
    - Always use process of elimination with your answer choices
    - Before you begin this schedule, count the number of verbal practice passages (101 from EK + however many in the TPR Hyperlearning Verbal Workbook). Divide the number of passages by 70 (total days - the number of break days AND FL days). That number is the number of verbal passages you should be taking per day. I'm hoping that number breaks down to at least 3 passages per day. Ideally, you should take 4-5 verbal passages per assigned day. You do NOT take verbal passages on break days OR FL days.
    - If you don't want to get the EK 1001 series, spread out the second 1/3 of BR practice passages over 2 days. Again, I recommend you get the EK 1001 books that are listed.
    - If your practice test score is not within your target range after 2-3 tests, you should consider delaying. If you delay, go over your weaknesses again and complete an in-depth analysis of what went wrong.
    - If you have enough money, you could adjust the schedule to fit in more practice tests. I didn't include that many to keep the cost down.
    - If your test is in the morning and you're not a morning person, start getting used to waking up early when you start taking practice tests.
    - Try to practice under as realistic as possible conditions when you take your practice tests. In other words: wake up early enough to be able to drive to your center; eat a meal you would eat before a test; follow the proper timing; and if you're really into it, you could even drive around for about the same time it would take you to get to your test center.

    General Guidelines for Reviewing:

    - Go over EVERY question. Both the ones you got right and the ones you got wrong.
    - Reviewing should take 2-3 times longer than taking the timed practice problems.
    - If your tests are fluctuating, it is due to the different topics on the various tests. In other words, you have some glaring weaknesses that when targeted, nail you, badly. You have to find out what those weaknesses are because they are evident by your scores. Do NOT dismiss any wrong answer as a "stupid mistake." You made that error for a reason. Go over your tests again.
    - You might want to consider making a log for all of your post test results where you work through the questions below. Doing so, you'll be able to easily notice trends.

    Some things to go over when reviewing:

    1. Why did you get the question wrong? Why did you get the question right?
    2. What question and passage types get you?
    3. How is your mindset when facing a particular passage?
    4. Are you stressed for time?
    5. Where are your mistakes happening the most? Are they front loaded? Are they at the end? All over?
    6. What was your thought process for both the questions you got right and the ones you got wrong?
    7. For verbal, what was the author's mindset and main idea?
    8. Did you eliminate all of the answer choices you could from first glance?
    ex. You know an answer should be a positive number so you cross out all of the negative number answer choices.
    9. What content areas are you weak in?
    10. Why are the wrong answers wrong and the right answer right?
    11. How can you improve so you don't make the same mistake again?

    Hat Trick:

    Get a hat and write every single MCAT PS and BS topic onto a piece of paper. Then, when you're ready to practice PS, put all the PS topics into the hat. Draw two or three pieces of paper and connect the topics together. In addition to connecting them, come up with what a passage might look like and what kind of questions you might get. If you can't do this, go back and review each of the three sections. Rinse and repeat.

    The hat trick days are important because they aid you in synthesizing the various topics together. On the MCAT, you utilize this skill for every passage because MCAT passages combine topics. Furthermore, you may also discover content weaknesses that you will need to go over.

    PS Topic List: https://www.aamc.org/students/download/85562/data/ps_topics.pdf
    BS Topic List: https://www.aamc.org/students/download/85566/data/bstopics.pdf
    Page to get topic lists if you don't want to directly download the pdf: https://www.aamc.org/students/applying/mcat/preparing

    Here's a rough example using Distillation, Mendelian Genetics, and Lipids:

    You are studying a Mendelian inherited recessive genetic defect of a lipid receptor. A defect in this receptor prevents the uptake lipids in the body and can cause several negative effects, such as, atherosclerosis due to fat build-up in arterial walls.

    To test for the concentration of lipids in a patient's blood, you design a distillation experiment.

    1. Given a couple where the male is Ll and the female is ll, what is the chance the child will have the defect?

    2. What kind of solvent should you use to test the concentration of lipids?

    3. What type patient would have the highest boiling point elevation?

    4. If the trait exhibited incomplete dominance, which patient is likely to be Ll? Boiling point information here.

    5. Which cell component requires lipids?

    Verbal Help:

    Check out Vihsadas's verbal guide and the other guides found in the MCAT Guide sticky
    Vihsadas's Guide: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showpost.php?p=6022602&postcount=96
    MCAT Guide Sticky: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=602154

    Arithmetic Tricks:

    http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?t=528674&highlight=Arithmetic Tips Tricks
    Last edited: 02.02.14
  2. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    The Day by Day

    - Give yourself 4 buffer days before beginning this schedule just in case you need them.
    - Another reminder: You are supposed to take some verbal passages every day except break days and FL days.

    Day 1: BR Physics Chapter #1 + Every third practice passage of all the corresponding practice passages for this chapter. Take passages #1, 4, 7, etc. If you have a version with discretes, take discrete #1, 4, 7, etc. and spend about 1 minute per discrete. If you have the version with both "Review" passages and a practice exam, take 1/3 from the Review Passages and 1/3 from the Practice Exam.

    For instance:

    Review Passages #1, 2, 3
    Practice Exam Passages #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

    First 1/3: Review Passage #1; Practice Exam Passage: #1, 4, 7
    Second 1/3: Review Passage #2; Practice Exam Passage: #2, 5
    Final 1/3: Review Passage #3; Practice Exam Passage: #3, 6

    If your version doesn't have this, don't worry about it. Again, if you don't have discretes or both a set of review passages and a practice exam, don't worry about it. Not all versions have this change.If you have an older version that does NOT have discretes, don't worry about it.
    Day 2: BR Gen Chem Chapter #1 + 1/3
    Day 3: BR O-Chem Chapter #1 + 1/3
    Day 4: EK Biology Chapter #1 + 1/3 of the corresponding passages in the BR Bio book. Although some of the chapters correspond well to each other, you'll probably have to jump around for some chapters. For instance, when EK Biology's chapter focuses on cell structure and function, work through the passages in BR Bio that deal with cell structure and function, i.e. BR Section VI. Yes, you are doing passages in BR BIO and NOT the ones in EK Bio.
    Day 5: BR Physics Chapter #2 + 1/3
    Day 6: Re-read ALL of the previous week's chapters (Day 1-5). This means you re-read the ENTIRE chapter again for both BR Physics chapters 1 & 2, BR Gen Chem chapter 1, BR O-Chem chapter 1, and EK Bio chapter 1. Additionally, work through corresponding EK 1001 sections for the chapters you worked through last week (Day 1-5). For instance, BR O-Chem chapter #1 goes over Organic Structure & Bonding; hence, complete the Molecular Structure in the EK 1001 O-Chem. The topics probably won't match all the time, but go with the best fit. Also, only do every third problem/passage in the EK 1001s. Lastly, complete the in-class exam for EK Bio chapter 1. From now on, this day's work will be abbreviated: "Re-read chapters + EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam"
    Day 7: Break
    Day 8: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages for the previous 5 BR chapters (remember this includes BR Bio). I'm going to shorten this to: "Complete second 1/3 of BR passages"
    Day 9: BR Gen Chem Chapter #2 + 1/3
    Day 10: BR O-Chem Chapter #2 + 1/3
    Day 11: EK Bio Chapter #2 + 1/3
    Day 12: BR Physics Chapter #3 + 1/3
    Day 13: BR Gen Chem Chapter #3 + 1/3
    Day 14: Break
    Day 15: Re-read chapters from Days 9-13 + EK 1001 for Days 9-13 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 16: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 17: BR O-Chem Chapter #3 + 1/3
    Day 18: EK Bio Chapter #3 + 1/3
    Day 19: BR Physics Chapter #4 + 1/3
    Day 20: BR Gen Chem Chapter #4 + 1/3
    Day 21: Break
    Day 22: BR O-Chem Chapter #4 + 1/3
    Day 23: Re-read chapters + EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 24: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 25: EK Bio Chapter #4 + 1/3
    Day 26: BR Physics Chapter #5 + 1/3
    Day 27: BR Gen Chem Chapter #5 + 1/3
    Day 28: Break
    Day 29: BR O-Chem Chapter #5 + 1/3
    Day 30: EK Bio Chapter #5 + 1/3
    Day 31: Re-read chapters + EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 32: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 33: BR Physics Chapter #6 + 1/3
    Day 34: BR Gen Chem Chapter #6 + 1/3
    Day 35: Break
    Day 36: BR O-Chem Chapter #6 + 1/3
    Day 37: EK Bio Chapter #6 + 1/3
    Day 38: BR Physics Chapter #7 + 1/3
    Day 39: Re-read chapters + EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 40: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 41: BR Gen Chem Chapter #7 + 1/3
    Day 42: Break
    Day 43: BR O-Chem Chapter #7 + 1/3
    Day 44: EK Bio Chapter #7 + 1/3
    Day 45: BR Physics Chapter #8 + 1/3
    Day 46: BR Gen Chem Chapter #8 + 1/3
    Day 47: Re-read chapters + EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 48: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 49: Break
    Day 50: EK Bio Chapter #8 + 1/3
    Day 51: BR Physics Chapter #9 + 1/3
    Day 52: BR Gen Chem Chapter #9 + 1/3
    Day 53: EK Bio Chapter #9 + 1/3
    Day 54: BR Physics Chapter #10 + 1/3
    Day 55: Break
    Day 56: BR Gen Chem Chapter #10 + 1/3
    Day 57: BR O-Chem Chapter #8 + 1/3
    Day 58: Re-read chapters + EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 59: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 60: Break
    Day 61: Hat Trick for 2-3 hours. For all of the following days, excluding break days, spend about 30 minutes on the Hat Trick. If it really helps you, spend more time on it. It might be slow at first, but you'll get the hang of it.
    Day 62: Complete last 1/3 of BR passages for ALL Chapter 1s: BR Bio Chapter 1, BR Physics Chapter 1, BR Gen Chem Chapter 1, and BR O-chem Chapter 1.
    Day 63: Complete last 1/3 of BR passages for ALL Chapter 1s
    - From now on, I will abbreviate the last 1/3 of BR as 1/3. I will include the chapters to cover.
    Day 64: AAMC FL #3
    Day 65: Review FL per guidelines + 1/3 Chapter 2
    Day 66: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 2
    Day 67: Break
    Day 68: 1/3 Chapter 3
    Day 69: 1/3 Chapter 3
    Day 70: Break
    Day 71: AAMC #4
    Day 72: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 4
    Day 73: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 4
    Day 74: AAMC #5
    Day 75: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 5
    Day 76: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 5
    Day 77: Break
    Day 78: AAMC FL #7
    Day 79: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 6
    Day 80: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 6
    Day 81: AAMC #8
    Day 82: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 7
    Day 83: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 7
    Day 84: Break
    Day 85: AAMC #9
    Day 86: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 8
    Day 87: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 8
    Day 88: AAMC #10
    Day 89: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 9
    Day 90: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 9
    Day 91: Break
    Day 92: AAMC #11
    Day 93: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 10
    Day 94: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 10
    Day 95: Break
    MCAT

    .
    .4 Month Variation

    For this variation, I suggest getting BR Verbal, TPRH Verbal Workbook, and EK 101 Verbal. Rotate between the three sources so you take 3 passages from one source one day, the next another source. When you're starting out, frequently rotate BR verbal to use it up quickly since it's not as good as the other two.

    Day 1: BR Physics Chapter #1 + Every third practice passage of all the corresponding practice passages for this chapter. Take passages #1, 4, 7, etc. If you have a version with discretes, take discrete #1, 4, 7, etc. and spend about 1 minute per discrete. If you have the version with both "Review" passages and a practice exam, take 1/3 from the Review Passages and 1/3 from the Practice Exam.

    For instance:

    Review Passages #1, 2, 3
    Practice Exam Passages #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

    First 1/3: Review Passage #1; Practice Exam Passage: #1, 4, 7
    Second 1/3: Review Passage #2; Practice Exam Passage: #2, 5
    Final 1/3: Review Passage #3; Practice Exam Passage: #3, 6

    If your version doesn't have this, don't worry about it. Again, if you don't have discretes or both a set of review passages and a practice exam, don't worry about it. Not all versions have this change.If you have an older version that does NOT have discretes, don't worry about it.
    Day 2: BR Gen Chem Chapter #1 + 1/3
    Day 3: BR O-Chem Chapter #1 + 1/3
    Day 4: EK Biology Chapter #1 + 1/3 of the corresponding passages in the BR Bio book. For instance, when EK Biology's chapter focuses on cell structure and function, work through the passages in BR Bio that deal with cell structure and function, i.e. BR Section VI. Yes, you are doing passages in BR BIO and NOT the ones in EK Bio.
    Day 5: BR Physics Chapter #2 + 1/3
    Day 6: Re-read ALL of the previous chapters. This means you re-read the ENTIRE chapter again for both BR Physics chapters 1 & 2, BR Gen Chem chapter 1, BR O-Chem chapter 1, and EK Bio chapter 1. Additionally, work through corresponding EK 1001 sections for the chapters you worked through. For instance, BR O-Chem chapter #1 goes over Organic Structure & Bonding; hence, complete the Molecular Structure in the EK 1001 O-Chem. The topics probably won't match all the time, but go with the best fit. Also, only do every third problem/passage in the EK 1001s. Lastly, complete the in-class exam for EK Bio chapter 1. From now on, this day's work will be abbreviated: "EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam"
    Day 7: Break
    Day 8: Finish re-reading ALL of the previous chapters.
    Day 9: Review EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 10: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages for the previous 5 BR chapters (remember this includes BR Bio). I'm going to shorten this to: "Complete second 1/3 of BR passages"
    Day 11: Review BR passages
    Day 12: BR Gen Chem Chapter #2 + 1/3
    Day 13: BR O-Chem Chapter #2 + 1/3
    Day 14: Break
    Day 15: EK Bio Chapter #2 + 1/3
    Day 16: BR Physics Chapter #3 + 1/3
    Day 17: BR Gen Chem Chapter #3 + 1/3
    Day 18: Re-read chapters
    Day 19: EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 20: Review EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 21: Break
    Day 22: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 23: Review BR passages
    Day 24: BR O-Chem Chapter #3 + 1/3
    Day 25: EK Bio Chapter #3 + 1/3
    Day 26: BR Physics Chapter #4 + 1/3
    Day 27: BR Gen Chem Chapter #4 + 1/3
    Day 28: Break
    Day 29: BR O-Chem Chapter #4 + 1/3
    Day 30: Re-read chapters
    Day 31: EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 32: Review EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 33: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 34: Review BR passages
    Day 35: Break
    Day 36: EK Bio Chapter #4 + 1/3
    Day 37: BR Physics Chapter #5 + 1/3
    Day 38: BR Gen Chem Chapter #5 + 1/3
    Day 39: BR O-Chem Chapter #5 + 1/3
    Day 40: EK Bio Chapter #5 + 1/3
    Day 41: Re-read chapters
    Day 42: Break
    Day 43: EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 44: Review EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 45: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 46: Review BR passages
    Day 47: BR Physics Chapter #6 + 1/3
    Day 48: BR Gen Chem Chapter #6 + 1/3
    Day 49: Break
    Day 50: BR O-Chem Chapter #6 + 1/3
    Day 51: EK Bio Chapter #6 + 1/3
    Day 52: BR Physics Chapter #7 + 1/3
    Day 53: Re-read chapters
    Day 54: EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 55: Review EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 56: Break
    Day 57: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 58: Review BR passages
    Day 59: BR Gen Chem Chapter #7 + 1/3
    Day 60: BR O-Chem Chapter #7 + 1/3
    Day 61: EK Bio Chapter #7 + 1/3
    Day 62: BR Physics Chapter #8 + 1/3
    Day 63: Break
    Day 64: BR Gen Chem Chapter #8 + 1/3
    Day 65: Re-read chapters
    Day 66: EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 67: Review EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 68: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 69: Review BR passages
    Day 70: Break
    Day 71: EK Bio Chapter #8 + 1/3
    Day 72: BR Physics Chapter #9 + 1/3
    Day 73: BR Gen Chem Chapter #9 + 1/3
    Day 74: EK Bio Chapter #9 + 1/3
    Day 75: BR Physics Chapter #10 + 1/3
    Day 76: Re-read chapters
    Day 77: Break
    Day 78: BR Gen Chem Chapter #10 + 1/3
    Day 79: BR O-Chem Chapter #8 + 1/3
    Day 80: Re-read chapters
    Day 81: EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 82: Review EK 1001 + EK Bio In-class exam
    Day 83: Complete second 1/3 of BR passages
    Day 84: Review BR passages
    Day 85: Break
    Day 86: Hat Trick for 2-3 hours. For all of the following days, excluding break days, spend about 30 minutes on the Hat Trick. If it really helps you, spend more time on it. It might be slow at first, but you'll get the hang of it.
    Day 87: Complete last 1/3 of BR passages for ALL Chapter 1s: BR Bio Chapter 1, BR Physics Chapter 1, BR Gen Chem Chapter 1, and BR O-chem Chapter 1.
    Day 88: Complete last 1/3 of BR passages for ALL Chapter 1s
    - From now on, I will abbreviate the last 1/3 of BR as 1/3. I will include the chapters to cover.
    Day 89: AAMC FL #3
    Day 90: Review FL per guidelines + 1/3 Chapter 2
    Day 91: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 2
    Day 92: Break
    Day 93: 1/3 Chapter 3
    Day 94: 1/3 Chapter 3
    Day 95: Break
    Day 96: AAMC #4
    Day 97: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 4
    Day 98: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 4
    Day 99: AAMC #5
    Day 100: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 5
    Day 101: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 5
    Day 102: Break
    Day 103: AAMC FL #7
    Day 104: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 6
    Day 105: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 6
    Day 106: AAMC #8
    Day 107: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 7
    Day 108: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 7
    Day 109: Break
    Day 110: Break
    Day 111: AAMC #9
    Day 112: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 8
    Day 113: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 8
    Day 114: AAMC #10
    Day 115: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 9
    Day 116: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 9
    Day 117: Break
    Day 118: AAMC #11
    Day 119: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 10
    Day 120: Review FL + 1/3 Chapter 10
    Day 121: Break
    MCAT

    .Written by SN2ed.
    Last edited: 12.27.11
  3. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Random Questions

    How many verbal passages should we take per day? For TPRH Verbal Workbook, should I take the full length verbal sections as a whole or split it up?

    In the TPR VW I believe there's 4 full length VR sections with 7 passages each and 43 other passages. Combined with EK 101, that's 172 passages. There are 70 days for verbal passages (taking out the break days and FL days).

    For the first 32 days you take verbal passages, take 3 verbal passages from either EK Verbal 101 or TPRH Verbal Workbook. Try to alternate each day until you run out. For the later 38 verbal days, take 2 passages per day. Feel free to mix up between 3 passage days and 2 passage days if you want.

    About TPRH Verbal Workbook, combine the full length verbal sections with the rest. Do NOT take them as full length tests. It's more important to continually practice verbal than to take a full length verbal section every week or so. Plus, once you reach the last month, you'll be taking full length verbal sections anyway.

    WOW TPRH Verbal Workbook COSTS THAT MUCH?!?!?

    First off, yes, it is a great resource and if you can get it for a reasonable price, I'd pick it up. While it may cost a ton, you can recoup some of the cost by reselling it later. Just make sure you don't write in it. Also, so everyone knows, ANY year for the TPRH Verbal Workbook is fine. Once TPR switched to their Hyperlearning series, they haven't made significant changes to their any of their material (it's all very good material at that).

    I've looked into some other verbal material, but unfortunately, nothing has come close to the number of passages in the TPRH Verbal Workbook.

    Here's what I looked at so far:

    - EK Verbal Reasoning & Math Tech, 9 passages: $14
    - Has past AAMC passages. I think they're from AAMC #1 or 2
    http://www.amazon.com/ExamKrackers-...niques/dp/1893858480/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

    - AAMC Official MCAT Guide, ~7 passages I think: $10 when bought as a bundle with a FL
    - Also has about the same number of passages for the sciences
    https://members.aamc.org/eweb/DynamicPage.aspx?webcode=COEBndlSearch

    - TPR's MCAT Verbal Reasoning and Writing Review, ~26 passages I think: $23
    - I believe they're the same passages as those in the TPRH Verbal Workbook, but I'm really not sure. Hopefully, they're the same or at least the same level of quality.
    - MAKE SURE YOU DO NOT PAY ATTENTION TO THEIR VERBAL STRATEGY, IT IS HORRIBLE!
    http://www.amazon.com/Verbal-Reasoning-Writing-Graduate-Preparation/dp/0375427961/ref=pd_rhf_p_t_1


    Total: ~42 passages for $47


    How do I combine BR Bio's passages and EK Bio's content?

    Slightly modified from doctoroftha313 post in this thread: http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?p=9660729

    EK Lecture: Molecular Biology & Cellular Respiration
    BR Chapter # - Passage #: 1-13, 6-3, 6-8, 6-9, 6-12, 6-14, 7-1, 7-2, 7-3, 7-4, 7-6, 7-7, 7-8, 7-9, 7-10, 7-11, 7-12, 7-13, 7-14, 7-15, 8-1, 8-2, 8-3, 8-4, 8-5, 8-6, 8-7, 8-8, 8-9, 8-10, 8-11, 8-12, 8-13, 8-14, 8-15

    EK Lecture: Genes
    BR Chapter # - Passage #: 6-13, 9-1, 9-4, 9-6, 9-7, 9-8, 9-9, 9-10, 9-11, 9-12, 9-13, 9-14, 9-15, 10-1, 10-2, 10-3, 10-4, 10-5, 10-6, 10-7, 10-8, 10-9, 10-10, 10-11, 10-12, 10-13, 10-14, 10-15

    EK Lecture: Microbiology
    BR Chapter # - Passage #: 6-1, 6-4, 6-5, 6-11, 6-15

    EK Lecture: The Eukaryotic Cell; The Nervous System
    BR Chapter # - Passage #:
    Eukaryotic Cell: 6-2, 6-6, 6-7, 6-10

    Nervous System: 1-1, 1-2, 1-3, 1-4, 1-5, 1-6, 1-7, 1-8, 1-9, 1-10, 1-11, 1-12

    EK Lecture: The Endocrine System; Reproductive System
    BR Chapter # - Passage #:
    Embryo: 4-1, 4-2, 4-3, 4-4, 4-5, 4-6, 4-7, 4-8, 4-9, 4-10, 4-11, 4-12, 4-13, 4-14, 4-15
    Endocrine: 5-7, 5-8, 5-9, 5-13, 5-14

    EK Lecture: The Digestive System; The Excretory System
    BR Chapter # - Passage #:
    Digestion: 3-2, 3-3, 3-4, 3-5, 3-6, 3-14, 3-15
    Excretory: 3-7, 3-8, 3-9, 3-10, 3-11, 3-13

    EK Lecture: The Cardiovascular System; The Respiratory System
    BR Chapter # - Passage #:
    Circulatory: 2-1, 2-2, 2-3, 2-4, 2-7, 2-8, 2-9, 2-10, 2-13, 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, 5-5, 5-6
    Respiratory: 2-5, 2-6, 2-11, 2-12, 2-14, 2-15, 7-5
    Lymph/Immuno: 3-12, 5-10, 5-11, 5-12, 5-15

    EK Lecture: Muscle, Bone, and Skin
    BR Chapter # - Passage #:
    1-14, 1-15, 3-1

    EK Lecture: Populations
    BR Chapter # - Passage #:
    9-2, 9-3, 9-5

    NOTE: "5-3" means BR chapter 5, passage #3.

    When should I start studying/When should I take the MCAT?

    You can choose your 3-4 month window to study after you've completed your pre-reqs. In your pre-reqs, gain mastery of the material; don't aim merely for an A. Spending the time to master the material in your pre-reqs will pay off when you study for the MCAT.

    Most people take the MCAT in either the summer of their junior year in college or the summer after they graduate. I don't suggest you take the MCAT earlier then your junior year because you run the risk of having your MCAT expire. Furthermore, the additional classes you have in the meantime may aid you on the MCAT. That said, the bottom line is to take the MCAT when you're ready.

    Why don't you recommend EK Bio 1001?

    First and foremost, it was removed after numerous posts and threads stating how it did not resemble the current MCAT and that BR Bio was closest. Over the past couple years, BS has moved towards a heavy critical thinking/passage analysis aspect similar in style to VR. Unfortunately, EK Bio 1001 does not focus much on critical thinking/passage analysis and instead relies more on recalling the relevant content. That does not mean there is no critical thinking involved, but it doesn't do it to the same degree as BR Bio or TPRH SW.

    Additionally, EK Bio 1001 has always been too easy which can give you a false sense of security. It's passage questions are fairly simple and straight forward. Conversely, BR Bio is tougher than the current MCAT and offers good explanations for their answers which will help to solve future difficult passages.

    Another problem is that supposedly there is a lengthy errata listing. However, you cannot access the errata unless you pay EK to use its forums.

    Bottom line, BR Bio passages are closer to the current MCAT, while EK Bio 1001 is similar to the older MCAT (ex AAMC 3).

    Are there any classes that will help me for the MCAT?

    Outside of your pre-reqs, you don't really need anything else. That said, some classes may give you a slight edge or help you. The classes typically considered the most helpful are:

    1. Genetics
    2. Anatomy and Physiology (specifically the physiology)
    3. Biochemistry

    Should I buy the Official Guide to the MCAT Exam published by the AAMC?


    I don't suggest you buy it separately. However, since you will be buying AAMC practice tests and/or the MSAR, you might as well get the bundle where you can get the Guide + Practice test or Guide + MSAR at a reduced price. If you get the guide, I suggest you save the problems in it for last. For now, the practice problems in the guide offer the most accurate representation of the current MCAT.

    For the hat trick, how specific are the topics you write down supposed to be? For example, is it better to write "electron structure," or go more in-depth and write each of the numbered topics (ie. orbital structure, ground state, etc)?

    It's really up to you and how you want to utilize the Hat Trick. A good starting point would be writing down all of the bolded topics. Then, when you're doing the Hat Trick, you should think about each topic more in-depth. Remember, you're trying to think up an MCAT style passage. In other words, the passage won't be simple; it will involve some of the complexities of each topic.

    Should I retake FL X?

    I don't suggest it for a few reasons. First, your score will be inflated. This alone negates the predictive power of the test. If you don't need it to gauge where you are, fine, retake them. For instance, you could simply be going over the problems again to, as others have mentioned, understand the thinking behind it. However, if you are using it as a practice FL, don't.

    One of the most important aspects of a FL is that it's material you've never seen before. It forces you to quickly analyze an unknown passage, tap into your knowledge, and answer questions you've never seen. If you knew exactly what was going to be on the test, it would take away from the somewhat frantic experience of getting that weird passage. It also makes you more relaxed overall because you know what's coming. Unfortunately, you will not have the luxury of either on the test. You will have to deal with weird passages. You will have to get out of your comfort zone of knowing what's ahead.

    Then, you get into the timing issues which you MUST get down before the test. When you have prior knowledge of the material, you miss the chance at gaining more experience with the clock. Too many people underestimate the effect of the timer. Again, you have to get used to it and retaking problems won't help.

    Think of the whole thing like sports practice. Sure, you go over some standard plays again and again to get a feel for them. However, to practice for a real game, you have a scrimmage match or an exhibition game. The other team doesn't tell you what plays they're going to run. If they did, it would eliminate the usefulness of the scrimmage or exhibition game.

    I've already taken the AAMC FLs, are there other practice tests you recommend?

    Both Gold Standard and Berkeley Review offer practice tests. Currently, BR FLs are your best bet despite the increased cost and hassle of ordering them. They're great practice for the science sections and okay verbal practice. However, their verbal is much better than GS's which is almost always hated and thought of as very unrealistic compared to the AAMC and the real MCAT. I believe BR's better verbal author wrote those sections which is why they're alright (BR's worse verbal author wrote the passages in the verbal workbook with the lengthy answer explanations).

    Conversely, Gold Standard has decent science sections, but their scaling is harsh. Expect a couple points lower than normal. As mentioned, their verbal is bad. The only real positive to GS is their price.

    Overall, spend the extra money on BR's tests. Of course, if you haven't used the AAMC FLs, buy those before any other FLs.

    How would you rank the FLs?

    In terms of easily accessible tests (tests that are available to non-class MCAT studiers), BR is your best bet.

    When considering all four, unlike MCAT prep books, I don't think the agreement on practice test ranking is that strong. Most tend to agree that the later AAMC tests are the best, but beyond that, there isn't much of a consensus. There's even an argument to be made that the AAMCs are only really good for verbal since there are more accurate CBTs in regards to the sciences. Despite this, your first priority should be to take all of the AAMC FLs in order from 3 to 11.

    1. AAMC #7-11
    2. BR #1-7
    3. Kaplan #1-6
    4. AAMC #3-5
    5. TPR
    6. Kaplan #7-10/GS

    The reason why TPR tests are so low is because the opinions are too mixed to gain a good read.

    Why do you review previous days passages instead of reviewing the same day?

    There are a couple reasons why I advise reviewing passages the day after. First, it helps to go over the material again, especially in regards to the sciences. Secondly, directly after you take a set of practice problems, you aren't in the best mind frame to then analyze said problems. Your mind is too focused on what you completed and is unable to grasp the big picture. You need that day for your thoughts to settle in order to approach the analysis with the right mindset. It's similar to how you may make a decision one day. Then the next day, you realize that it wasn't the best choice. Yet, on the day you made your choice, you would have probably found justification for it rather than actually analyzing its pros and cons.

    Another example would be with proof-reading your own papers. Right after you write your paper, when you proof-read it, you'll probably miss plenty of mistakes. However, checking it the next day allows you to approach the paper with a clear mind and find more mistakes.


    Why rotate subjects?

    I think rotating subjects is better for a couple reasons. First, it keeps material from the different areas fresh. Often times, concepts in one chapter build upon another. It also lessens the chance of forgetting what you've already studied. By studying all of one area and then moving on, you lack exposure to that topic for the remainder of your content review which leads to forgetting that area. Lastly, rotating subjects fosters connections between the different topics. One of the biggest aspects of the MCAT is connecting various topics together in any given passage. By rotating, you can easily begin to see connections as you complete content review from different areas. If you were only studying one subject, such connections would not be as evident.

    I have more than 4 months until my test, is there anything you suggest?

    There are two things you might want to consider. First, aim for mastery of the material in all of your pre-reqs. Don't go simply for the A. Know the material cold. Next, is reading various materials. Here's my suggested reading list:

    Wall Street Journal
    New Yorker
    Economist
    Random science journals

    For philosophy articles, I suggest you go to your library or bookstore and pick up a compilation book on Western or Eastern philosophy.

    Remember to read the boring articles as well as the interesting ones. Chances are your MCAT verbal passages won't be the most exciting read. After you're done reading, try to discern the main idea and the author's opinion.

    Why is Kaplan's verbal bad?

    Kaplan is bad in verbal because it doesn't stress the same things as the actual MCAT. For the MCAT, the main idea and author's point of view/opinion are the keys to success. Conversely, Kaplan focuses more on the detail oriented questions which are easy to teach; the kind of questions which make you go back over the passage to find the minute detail being tested. On the MCAT, going back to the passages will kill your timing. Furthermore, you rarely receive such questions and when you do get them, they can typically be answered with the main idea or author's opinion.

    Why are so many of your recommended books from BR?

    About BR, it does go into some unnecessary depth, however, it's great for people that need a little bit more to get the rust off their pre-req gears. If someone is still strong in their pre-reqs, then BR can be seen as a waste of time. In these cases, EK is the better choice because it provides you with only what you need to know. Unfortunately, too many people think they are strong in their pre-reqs when they are not.

    That's why the safer bet is to stick with BR (or TPRH if you have it). Even if you're strong in your pre-reqs, it doesn't hurt to go above and beyond what you might need for the test. True, BR chapters are longer, but if you plan accordingly, you should be able to easily do one chapter a day. If you can't, then you're most likely weak in that area and you need something like BR to help you.

    Now about why my schedule doesn't include tons of FLs, one of the primary reasons is cost. Adding FLs would significantly raise the cost of my schedule. I could add GS FLs which are around $100 for 10, unfortunately, that's still quite a bit of money and recent test takers have said they aren't that helpful. Plus, they aren't good in verbal which kind of negates the FL feel.

    One could argue that if I took out BR and replaced it with EK, that would bring down the cost. However, as I mentioned above, BR is the safer bet AND it includes tons of practice passages. When compared to the AAMC FLs, BR offers more practice passages per dollar.

    8 AAMC 168 Passages for $280 = 0.6 Passages per $
    4 BR books ~472 Passages for $240 = 1.97 Passages per $

    10 GS FLs 210 Passages (this includes verbal which is pretty bad in GS FLs) for ~$100 = 2.1 Passages per $
    10 GS FLs if you exclude their verbal 140 Passages for $100 = 1.4 Passages per $

    Another benefit of taking practice passages is that you'll get the full range of possible topics. With FLs, you will inevitably miss certain topics and/or go over some topics more than others. Now that sounds pretty good at first glance. It seems like you'll get used to topics tested more often. Unfortunately, you can't predict what you'll see on test day. You may get those topics you saw in the FLs, you may not. It's better to take practice passages from all topics, identify any weaknesses, even if they don't show up often on FLs, and eliminate those weaknesses.

    Well I hope that long winded explanation explained why I chose BR over other books and including more FLs.

    How do I eliminate careless mistakes?

    The first step is realizing that these mistakes are happening for a reason. Next, and by far the hardest step, is figuring out why they occur. Here are some questions to get you going:

    Are you reading the entire question and the answer choices?
    Was it a math mistake?
    What was your train of thought?
    Are there any similarities between the problems?
    - Content
    - Timing
    - Placement in test/passage question stem
    - Question type
    Are you rushing?
    Did you eliminate all of the wrong choices?

    You made the mistake for a good reason, find that, and you'll have your answer.

    Any tips for a non-trad that has to work to eat?


    First off, let me say that you're not in the same situation as a full-time student. This is good. You're less likely to burnout while studying because your job most likely doesn't include school-like studying.

    Secondly, you need to make my schedule work for you. Unfortunately, this isn't something I can do due to the wide array of jobs and their respective demands. Take my schedule, if it works for you great. If it doesn't, mold it around your work week. Lastly, I have tried to make the 4 month schedule more doable for non-trads, so give it a try before the 3 month version.

    Do you suggest reviewing the previous day's passages or practice questions or start with reading the suggested chapter and passages? Do you suggest completing the day's work in any particular order?

    Go with whatever you're most comfortable with doing. The only thing that must be done in order is reading the day's chapter must come before completing that chapter's passages. For instance, you should read BR O-Chem chapter 2 before completing 1/3 of BR O-Chem chapter 2's practice passages.

    Do you finish the EK 1001 books?

    You only complete the first 1/3 for most of the EK 1001 books. This is so you have extra practice for concept specific problems. If you want, you're free to go through more.

    Which do you prefer strictly for content, TPRH or BR?

    The key to MCAT success is not content review, it's taking tons of timed practice passages and thoroughly reviewing those passages. If you really want an exact breakdown in terms of content review, it'd probably be something like this:

    Bio: TPRH
    O-chem: TPRH, a good number prefer BR
    - In the past, more people preferred BR. Both TPRH and BR are probably about equal with style preference being a large factor.
    Verbal: TPRH
    - Verbal is basically entirely practice-based so this doesn't really count. For verbal practice, TPRH easily beats BR.
    Gen chem: BR, some prefer TPRH
    Physics: BR, some prefer TPRH

    Again, you can't go wrong with either. For the money, BR is better because it contains practice passages which are vital for success and far more important than content review.

    Know anything on free MCAT sites?

    I don't think the actual free sites (i.e. ones that produce their own material and not steal from others) out there are good enough yet to use as one's sole source for content review. They work well for people that are already strong students. However, that's primarily the top 1-5% which is over represented on SDN. Something people can forget on here is that +35 scores are actually rare. Now in a few more years, one may very well be able to use websites for their content review.

    That said, you absolutely must buckle down and pay for some passages and practice FLs. None of the free websites I've seen have a decent source of practice material. Furthermore, the key to the MCAT is not content review, but taking tons of timed practice passages. Hence, it is vital that you pick up some good material.

    A word of warning, I'd only trust free sites recommended by long time posters, such as, Geekchick921. SDN, due to its size, frequently gets scam websites posted on here and just regular old spammers/advertisers. These posters usually operate under a false pretense and act like they've just found this awesome website, so they had to sign up to SDN to tell others.

    Is a prep course necessary to do well?

    No one needs to spend thousands for a prep course. Yes, a great teacher and the camaraderie with your fellow students can help, but they aren't necessary. Courses are also good for providing a schedule, but I hope I've helped in that category. Beyond that, it's important to keep in mind that everyone basically studies on their own. When you're signed up for a course, you'll attend classes and maybe some 1-1 review sessions with the teacher, yet the bulk of your studying is by yourself.

    Why study linearly? Why not focus on your weak areas before your strengths?

    First off, I think this question underscores the importance of doing well in one’s pre-reqs to reduce the number of weakness to as few as possible. Remember, do not merely go for the A; aim for mastery of the material. Working hard in your pre-reqs will boost your GPA and pay off when you study for the MCAT.

    One of the reasons test prep companies, and most schedules, go in chapter order is due to companies developing schedules for a group of people and not the individual. Rather than create a schedule per student, which would take up quite a bit of time, they make a generic schedule. Sure, they could make a diagnostic to try and pin-point weaknesses, gather the data, and make a schedule per student, yet I doubt they would want to invest their resources like that. Even creating a program to accomplish that task would cost money they probably aren’t willing to spend. Furthermore, well, you probably know how I feel about diagnostics judging by my sig.

    Money is a factor in a test prep company avoiding personalized schedules; however, it is not the only reason to take chapters in order. Additionally, money would not explain why other schedules recommend going linearly. When looking at all of the various content review books, you might notice something. Translational motion is almost always the first topic in Physics. You might be thinking, “Why is that?” There are few reasons which come to mind. First, as opposed to electricity or fluids, translational motion is a relatively easy topic for most students. Secondly, it isn’t hard to create complex problems/passages based on this simple area. Lastly, translational motion serves as a great time to introduce the basic math skills and tricks needed for the MCAT. What I’m getting at here is that there are good reasons why subjects are ordered in content review books.

    The content of one chapter will frequently build from the preceding chapter. Let’s take another look at Physics for an example. One starts with translational motion. The next subject is typically forces which is a form of translational motion. Then, there’s work which advances the topic of forces and applies force by distance. As you can see, each chapter uses the basis of another to present the material in a logical order. Think of it like pyramid. You start with translational motion and then add the bricks of force and work.

    Another rationale for a linear schedule is that it must instill the skills necessary to apply knowledge early on. In order to do this, a schedule must start in areas that are strong for the vast majority of students. Beginning with a tough subject does not lay the foundation for application of knowledge because the student is struggling with the content itself. In fact, application of knowledge is the most important factor in MCAT success. Merely knowing the content inside-and-out does not cut it which is why you may see students that ace their classes, but do badly on the MCAT.

    Next, there is the topic of confidence. I cannot stress enough the how vital confidence is for this test. Without it, you might as well not take the MCAT. Jumping straight into weak areas destroys one’s confidence. They start questioning whether they actually have the brains to take on the MCAT. Thus, you don’t want to start a schedule by slamming the individual right away. You want to guide the student and help them gain some momentum before tackling their trouble spots.

    Also, by placing all of your weaknesses up front, you naturally start studying those topics first. You might be thinking, “Yeah that’s the point.” The problem here is that you may forget those topics by the time your test rolls around. You may even try to subconsciously erase your memory since focusing on all of your weaknesses at once was probably not an enjoyable experience. That’s not to say studying for the MCAT is fun, but you get the picture. Additionally, you might spend too much time on your weaknesses and neglect areas that should be your strengths and end up with more weaknesses.

    Finally, there seems to be a misconception that studying linearly means you don’t focus on your weak areas. If you are properly reviewing, you shouldn’t be breezing by your weaknesses. You should read and re-read the chapter as you pound the practice problems. When you thoroughly review your practice problems, if you find you missed a problem purely based on content, you have to go over the topic again. Considering that this might mean you review the chapter several times, you can see how one might spend quite a bit of time on their weaknesses. You would also hit your weaknesses again whenever the topic comes up on a practice FL.

    In closing, the above are my reasons for opting for a linear study schedule and why test prep companies may favor them as well.

    When should I send my primary application and any tips?

    As soon as it opens. The majority of the application is simple stuff like your name, address, what schools you attended, which medical school you're applying to, etc. However, there are three things you need to get lined up beforehand: LORs, personal statement, and your transcript.

    It shouldn't be too tough to get your transcript sent to AMCAS as soon as possible. Make sure you take the couple minutes necessary to figure out what paperwork needs to be filled out beforehand and any fees.

    Next, try to get your LORs written up and submitted to Interfolio or VirtualEval far in advance. I'd start asking your writers shortly after senior year begins. You'd be surprised at how long it can take. Plus, asking near May is a bad idea because your professors will be gearing up for finals. It's best to ask early and get your letters before your spring semester. Then, all you'll have to do is get Interfolio or VirtualEval to send them to AMCAS or one of the few schools that doesn't accept AMCAS letters.

    Couple more notes on LORs, check the schools you're interested in to get all of the appropriate letters. Some schools want a specific number of science professor letters and/or non-science professors. Additionally, if you can send some non-science professor letters, do it. The diversity will help your application. Finally, if your schools offers a pre-med committee letter, you MUST get one.

    Lastly, start writing up your personal statement during your senior year. After you write your first draft, get lots of people to read over it. Your science professors will probably be able to help you fine tune the basic thrust since they've most likely read medical school personal statements before. Your non-science professors are typically good at tightening up your essay. Also, friends can come up with good ideas and help bring out more of your positive attributes. Don't forget about writing tutors either. Once you finish draft number 30, you'll be good :p

    So get those three things set up for a smooth primary application.
    Last edited: 03.10.13
    aviddreamer_21 likes this.
  4. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Any comments from people that have used your schedule?

    A couple important points to keep in mind:

    1. While I provide a schedule to help people, one's score is the result of their hardwork. For instance, you could have the best schedule and the best material, but if your work ethnic is bad, none of that matters.

    2. Another thing to keep in mind is that the scores are likely to be posted in a similar manner to the MCAT Club threads. So I'd expect more scores posted by people that are really happy or mad with their results (usually more happy posts than mad).

    Also, if anyone would like to be removed from this list, please report this post saying that and I'll remove it.

    Last edited: 03.25.11
  5. capn jazz

    capn jazz

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    You are an incredible person.
  6. Protactinium

    Protactinium

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    Excellent post! This should go into the official guide.
  7. EkramVahsedi86

    EkramVahsedi86

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    Wow, what a gem!
  8. capn jazz

    capn jazz

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    I'm doing a slight variation on this. I really don't like jumping between subjects, so I decided to it in blocks - I've done Bio (EK + 1001), OChem (EK + TPR sci wkbk), and I'm about halfway through Gen Chem (TBR) and I'll be starting Physics (TBR) when I'm done.

    I've also been doing:
    day 1: read a chapter
    day 2: answer Qs (for TBR - phase I,II; for 1001/TPR: about 2 hours worth and REVIEW solutions)
    day 3: read another chapter
    day 4: repeat day 2 on the new topic

    I do an EK verbal full-length every Sunday.

    I'm trying to get the TPR verbal wkbk to do 1-2 passages a day but I'm having trouble.

    I think both SN2ed's method and mine are fairly equal in effectiveness. Are any of the difference between mine and the one in this thread going to hurt me?

    Also, I don't think I have timing issues with verbal - I've never gone over the time limit. Should I keep doing FLs or switch to doing 1-3 passages a day?
  9. ACE28

    ACE28

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    Phenomenal! On behalf of all current and future MCAT takers, THANK YOU!
  10. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    I'm glad everyone thinks this is useful.

    Also, I'm not quite done. I was going to add an explanation on "how to change this into a four month plan/the last month is too intense." I'll also throw in an explanation on why I rotate the various subjects since the subject was raised.
  11. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    Attached is my MCAT syllabus for this coming summer, if anyone is interested in that as well. It's more specifically geared to certain topics at certain times, rather than a certain chapter of a certain book. Has scheduled break days and a few leeway days. At any rate, even if no one is interested, I'd appreciate it if you take a look SN2ed to see if you think it's workable, or if I should switch to your schedule :p

    Thanks for posting this, I'm sure many will appreciate it!

    Attached Files:

  12. gumbyj

    gumbyj

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    I don't have the luxury of taking time off to study for the MCAT and will be taking classes (Aprx 16 credits). Does anyone have any ideas how to modify this type of schedule for say a longer time period and less studying/day or any other suggestions? Thanks!
  13. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Edit: Is this due to the BS/MD program? Will you not have a summer vacation? You should try for the 4 month modification of this schedule which I will post later on. Stretching this schedule longer then that significantly reduces its effectiveness. At that point, you need a completely different type of schedule, one more suited for 5-6 months. Any studying done prior to 6 months before your test date is pointless (except for reading). Lastly, it's still a horrible idea to study for the MCAT while taking a heavy courseload.



    Some quick things I noticed.
    - I don't see nearly enough practice problems scheduled in. All you have are the practice tests which won't cut it. For the MCAT, taking tons of practice problems and thoroughly reviewing them, trumps content review. That's not to say content review isn't important, it's just that practice problems are even more so.
    - The amount of verbal practice is also far too low. The key to doing well on verbal is taking 3-5 timed practice passages per day (except on FL days when you take a whole verbal section).

    I'm also not sure about how you distributed the content, but it's probably okay. Lastly, I wouldn't have so many break days before your test. I think you should at least do some light studying on August 11th and 12th.
    Last edited: 05.01.09
  14. gumbyj

    gumbyj

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    I be finishing up my last semester in undergrad at this point (Spring 2010) and was planning on taking the MCAT Jan/March of 2010. I will have a full courseload in both Fall and Spring. Do you have any specific suggestions for what type of schedule I should use? (Considering the fact that I have to be taken classes).
  15. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    How come you can't take it this summer?
  16. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    Thanks a bunch for the advice. Based on what you said, I plan on doing the 3-5 verbal passages everyday, rather than having entire days dedicated to verbal. To replace these days, I made them 'problem days' in which I'd do nothing but work problems related to the content review I did that week. I would still probably work some problems on the day of the content review. To avoid so much break time before the actual test, 3 days before the test and 2 days before the test I was thinking I'd do both your 'hat trick' and formula review.

    Does this sound like a better set up to you?

    Thanks again :)
  17. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Yeah, that's similar to what I was thinking as well for those last few days.

    Day 1: Hat Trick + Form Review + Verb Passages
    Day 2: Same as above
    Day 3: Break
    MCAT

    You shouldn't need formula review at that point. By that time, you should have the formulas down through doing tons of practice problems. The formulas need to get to the point where you intuitively know them. What books are you using? I say this because I think you need more than one day of practice problems related to content review. They should be continuous. It's fine to have one big day, but you should always be taking some.
  18. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    I have the exact book list you frequently copy+paste. Yes, I'm planning on doing some problems everyday, but dedicating whole days to it on my problem days. I haven't had a chance to look at them yet, as I'm away at college and had them shipped to my home address. Do you think that the syllabus based on the AAMC outlines is going to be followable with that book list? i.e. could I look in the table of contents in EK Bio, find genetics, read everything they have on it, look up genetics in EK Bio 1001, then do some problems related to what I was reviewing?

    If that isn't feasible, it seems to me like following your outline that's based on chapters, rather than topics, would probably be better.
  19. capn jazz

    capn jazz

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    Any input on this, SN2ed?

    It looks like I WILL have the TPR verbal workbook, so I'll be able to incorporate a few passages per day.
  20. garyinthehouse

    garyinthehouse ---

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    SN2ed, this is an excellent post!

    If you were standing in front of me, I'd hug you :D
  21. jktdutch

    jktdutch

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    Great stuff. I'd love to hear your 4 month plan. I am writing my MCAT on Sept 3.
  22. jasonbourne

    jasonbourne

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    This is the best post i have ever come across on SDN. This post is awesome. Keep it up. If you know about the Pcat, I think you would be of great help to pre pharm students
  23. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    I'm making room right now for the 4 month plan and for some of the questions I said I'd answer earlier.

    loveoforganic & capn jazz: I'll answer you two around the time I put in the new content for the guide. I'm trying to get that done first.
  24. kwokkit

    kwokkit MCAT fanatic

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    Fantastic post SN2ed. I have a question about VR material. I will get my hands on BR verbal but I may not be able to get my hands on TPR verbal workbook. As a retaker, I have also done 90% of the EK101 book. Where do you suggest that I get enough VR material to do the 'few passages a day' that you and V are proponents of? Also, what are your thoughts on doing a little verbal very often (a few passages at a time) vs. doing one mcat-length VR section say, once a week?
    Thanks, and thank you again! I am looking forward to the 4 month study plan.
  25. Bond03

    Bond03

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    Thank you so much SN2ed for this post, I am going to re-do my schedule to follow this one. However even after I read the BR section, I still do poorly on their passages (i.e average 3-4 wrong PER PASSAGE). Any suggestions on what I can do to improve? I was thinking of reading the content in the BR books, doing the 1001EK problems and then going to the BR passages. Or should I read the material in different books and then go do the passages in BR? OR should I suck it up, learn from my mistakes and keep going straight into the BR passages?

    THANKS :)
  26. capn jazz

    capn jazz

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    Or you getting things wrong because you misunderstand the questions or make mistakes, or is it because you blank on how to approach a question (like calculating something)? If it's the latter, I'd recommend doing some EK problems to solidify your knowledge of the approach to the solution. Make sure you're doing the in-passage Qs for TBR, they're very helpful. Also, if I'm doing a passage and I get to a question I literally don't even know how to answer, after I've finished that passage, I look at the solutions to that question and make note of how to approach the problem. Some questions are meant for you to get them wrong so you are forced to review the solutions and see how to do it next time.
  27. Chowdder

    Chowdder

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    I'd recommend doing the full length test. Doing a few passages at a time is only good for when you are practicing to get down the technique. For example, if you want to test out whether it is better to read the questions first and then read the passage or passage first then questions. Then do a couple of passages to familiarize yourself with the technique. Most of your verbal should always follow the format of the test. You want to have as similar of a test condition as possible. Remember, doing full test not only test your understanding on the verbal technique, but also test your timing, judgement, composure, and focuse.
  28. Lola84

    Lola84

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    SN2ed, you're awesome.

    I am looking for books with a lot of practice passage problems for Bio, Phys & Verbal (i.e. passages on info presentation, problem solving, research study, persuasive argument). Does anyone know any? (I am not looking for a review book.. I am only looking for passages for practice.. like the EK 101)
  29. MusicIsLife

    MusicIsLife

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    Hi SN2ed,

    Pardon my stupidity (or fried-brain state), but can you clarify what you mean by "do 1/3 of the corresponding passages"? Granted, I have not seen the BR books yet, but I'm planning on buying them, & I can't seem to grasp what you mean by that. Is it one out of every 3 passages? And if so, when do you suggest completing the remaining ones?

    I don't know...it's late & I'm confused...
  30. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    - Added 4 month variation.
    - Added a couple sentences on the importance of the hat trick/why I suggest it.

    It will take me awhile to get to the questions and add to the guide. Also, please keep the questions to the strategy.
  31. Fudge

    Fudge

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    Hi SN2ed,

    that's a very helpful 3 month plan! Unfortunately, I can't afford to quit my part-time job. How many hours a day on average does one have to put in to follow your schedule? Do you think I could cut it with 5 hours a day?
  32. UGAmkw

    UGAmkw

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    anyone got a study schedule from May to the July 17th exam?
  33. MissIntrigued

    MissIntrigued In the midst of my Quarte

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    This is a good thread for some people who have alot of free time and money on their hands....but to be honest it is not for everyone.

    Me, for instance. I have to work 40 hours a week (that's right- 40 hours. Not part time. In a hospital. With my own caseload of patients that I manage, so its not a fluff job where i sit at a receptionist desk and can read study books all day. Today I spent three hours dealing with a suicidal patient....fun fun! .)

    I can't not work, or reduce my work hours. I have rent to pay. And bills. And all that other annoying adult stuff.

    Not to put down the original poster, but there are alot of "non trads" out there (and im not an old fart or anything....only 26....) that can't commit 24/7 to studying and HAVE to work around a real life schedule, and to THOSE people I just wanted to let them know that it IS possible to do well on MCAT even if you can't afford to take the two-thousand dollar class (like me), or have to work and etc. It just takes being committed.

    Admittadly, it took me a few months to get my head in the right place to study properly around my schedule, but that was more due to personal events that were happening that distracted me. I wake up at 5 in the morning to go to work at the hospital every day at 6 am, so my schedule can get a little mad.

    I bought audio osmosis, and listen to it in my car every day on my way to work, and while im stuck in traffic on my way home, and while i fall asleep, and pretty much any other time i am too tired to read, but i can fathom just laying there and listening. Its helpful in that if you repeat it over and over and it can be a good review of basic stuff you need to know. Sort of like listening to the same song over and over again and eventually you remember all the words.

    I bought the full examcrackers set and i am pretty confidant they have everything i need, along with all the AMCAS full length tests online. I spend 2-3 hours working on physics, then when im sick of physics i go to Bio for 2-3 hours. Then the next day switch up to chem and o-chem if that works for you.

    There is no one here that can tell you a specific study schedule or a specific time frame or way to apply to med school. I think alot of people come to boards like this and become very disheartened when they read things that tell them the only way they will do well is if they can cough up loads of cash and magically not have to work a job. That is not a reality for many people.

    Anyway, just my two cents. Good orignal post, just is not realistic for me. I'll do fine anyway, now that my head is in the right place. I think this test is, really, all about being confident. If you are confident in your ability to retain information in three months studying then you will be fine. Stress is the easiest way to forget everything you have just read. Meditate, do yoga, and for the love of god, go out once in awhile. Im not saying go out and get wasted the week before the MCAT, but its really quite acceptable to take a break on a sunday, go out for dinner on saturday night after studying all day, or having one beer with a friend on a thursday night after you've worked for 8 hours and studied for 5 hours. Youre brain and body need to relax in order to really absorb and justify everything it has learned!

    Good luck everyone :)
  34. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    MissIntrigued:
    I agree, this schedule isn't for everyone, especially non-trads. However, I do think this schedule would work well for people taking a summer break from college or shortly after they graduate (I think that makes up the bulk of MCAT test takers :confused: Even though the average age is 24, that doesn't mean they took the MCAT when they were 24. It was probably earlier considering the application process takes a year.). I didn't want to make a schedule for non-trads because it's practically impossible to account for the variety of jobs. In those cases, it comes down to an individual making a study schedule around their job. That's not something I can do.

    About the price, it's not that expensive if you're willing to buy used. Even if you bought (what you could) new, the price shouldn't go into the $1000s. By far the most expensive materials on my list are the AAMC FLs. There's nothing I can do about that. The other FLs available for purchase aren't much cheaper either.

    I definitely agree with you that confidence is a vital component of success and not just MCAT success.

    capn jazz:
    I don't know if doing two phases of BR is a good idea. I think it would be better to save some up and work through them over the course of your study schedule. The main reason why I prefer waiting a week before phase two is because you'll be taking these problems AFTER reviewing your mistakes from phase one. Plus, I like going over material multiple times to have it stick.

    Also, I prefer rotating the various topics, I'll get into that later when I update my guide. Though if it's working for you, keep it up. Definitely take some verbal passages everyday if you can.

    loveoforgnaic:

    It's entirely possible to go with the outline you previously posted. As you said, you would have to look up the various chapter that fit your needs. Still, I think going by chapters is easier overall and, hopefully, you'll have more balanced days since the chapter lengths are typically about the same.

    kwokkit:
    If you can't get the TPR Hyperlearning workbook, then just make do with the BR verbal book. Sure, it's not preferable, but sometimes you have to go with what you got. Unfortunately, there aren't that many good verbal books. Since you won't have that much verbal material, you might need to spread it out to make it last. Should this happen, try alternating verbal every other day or every three days. Also, space out your verbal material from BR so that you'll run out by the time your month of FLs begin. When you being taking FLs, you'll be taking full length verbal tests every three days.

    Yes, doing a few passages everyday is better than one big verbal day. Think of it like running. It's better to run a few miles everyday than trying to run 10 on one day.

    Bond03:
    First off, you should ALWAYS learn from your mistakes. Taking practice problems is important not only for the practice itself, but also the post-test analysis. Actually, the post-test analysis is more valuable. You may want to try your idea of going through EK 1001 first, then the BR passages. Perhaps the EK 1001 will let you catch your weaknesses earlier, allow you to fix them, and then attack the BR passages with more confidence.

    MusicIsLife:
    For each BR chapter, there are problems assigned to that chapter. For instance, there's chapter 1 and afterwards, chapter 1's set of practice passages. Yes, 1/3 of the corresponding passages means you take every third passage. The other 1/3s are completed per the guide's timeline.

    Fudge:
    Whether you can complete this strategy with 5 hours per day largely depends on how fast you can read the BR/EK chapter. Some people do well by reading it in 1-2, while some may take much longer. Whatever you end up doing, don't rush through a chapter. Take your time and make sure you know the material. If you simply rush, you'll end up missing everything and need to re-read it. Also, you should stick with the 4 month variation. Give the strategy a try for a little while to get a feel for how long it will take you to complete the day's work. If you can't keep up, adjust the schedule accordingly.
  35. loveoforganic

    loveoforganic -Account Deactivated-

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    Thanks for the reply. After much deliberation and regret over the time I put into my own prep schedule, I've decided to follow your outline. So thanks even more than I thought! Gonna have to try to work it around a full time job, but I think it'll be manageable.
  36. freditoj

    freditoj little fred

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    Great schedule, well planned out! I was wondering how much you got on your MCAT by following this method?
  37. Vihsadas

    Vihsadas No summer Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor

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    Very nice. :thumbup:
  38. BlitzSleep

    BlitzSleep Junior Member

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    Amazing work!

    Sticky this asap
  39. Runnergirl08

    Runnergirl08

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    Hey I think this three month schedule looks fantastic but I am in quandary about materials. I just found this suggestion and fortunately I have already ordered my EK books and have the Kaplan content materials (which are of questionable quality...). BR books seem like they are going to take a long time to arrive and TPR hyperlearning books seem totally inaccessible right now. I did however find TPR "Cracking the MCAT" and the supplemental workout book at the bookstore. Any suggestions on how I should proceed with this? I really need to knock this exam out this summer and want to get on my game ASAP.
  40. dr seuss

    dr seuss

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    TBR books don't really take that long to arrive if you use a money order. I got mine in about a week and others have said a week and a half.
  41. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Don't waste your money on those TPR books. They aren't even close to as good as TPR's Hyperlearning series. Try the money order thing for BR.
  42. Runnergirl08

    Runnergirl08

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    You don't work for BR....right? You never know on SDN.
  43. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    No, I don't work for them. For now, BR are just the best in Physics, O-chem, and Gen Chem. They're also good in Bio if you want a detailed approach which many do not. Also, if you search around this forum, there are many people recommending BR besides me. Still, if you don't like/want to get BR, TPR Hyperlearning are also very good across all subjects. Like I said before, just avoid the TPR books found in bookstores. They aren't even close to as good as their Hyperlearning series.
  44. bkz

    bkz

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    sn2ed this thread is fantastic, thank you.
    Is there any way to get the hyperlearning science workbook new? Or do you just have to borrow it from a friend/buy it used on amazon? TPR doesn't seem to mention this anywhere, I'm guessing bc they want you to pay for the full course..
  45. texahn

    texahn Yes

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    I think I agree. Always do your sht timed.

    However, I feel like the schedule uses too many breaks.
    Cite all the Science Mag articles you want, but I think people should be able to take breaks when they need it and not have it scheduled.

    Also, don't do drugs!
  46. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Yeah, you have to buy it used/get it from a friend since TPR's Hyperlearning books are for their course. If they released their Hyperlearning in bookstores, they'd probably trample their competitors. Although BR is better in some areas, TPR actually has the means to mass produce their books. Plus, BR's ordering system is among the worst I've encountered on the web. Their website also looks unprofessional. If one didn't know better, they would easily mistake it for a fake website.

    Also, check out the For Sale forum on here. I think I saw a few people selling their TPR Hyperlearning Science Workbook.
  47. bkz

    bkz

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    thanks!
  48. JamaicanHerb

    JamaicanHerb

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    Nice job stealing EK 10-week home study method and replacing it with BR material and adding practice tests.
  49. phEight

    phEight fate, not a pH of 8

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    :thumbdown:
    Yea I don't think so. Even if it were the case, he went out of his way to write up something to help those of us studying or are about to start studying for the MCAT, and that act in itself doesn't deserve what you said. I suggest you hit some of that Jamaicanherb so you can maybe say something nice lol
  50. SN2ed

    SN2ed Moderator

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    Well see if you read through this Nature article on MCAT studying...


    Nah. The reason why I schedule breaks in is that often times people wait too long before they take a break. By the time they realize they need a break, it's only because their test scores have fallen off due to burn out. I want to avoid burn out as much as possible. Once you're burned out, it's tough to get back into it.

    Then there are other people that get lazy during studying and start to take too many breaks. They think, "well I have 3 months, another break day won't hurt."

    Overall, while studying for this length of time, people lose track of when they need breaks.
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